Death from peculiar cause … or ‘They did what with what?’

In one of her letters, Grandma had included a newspaper clipping about her grandfather’s “peculiar” death. Naturally, it’s bowel-related. I don’t know that the cause of his death is nearly as peculiar as the failed treatment. Two things to consider from this story: 1) It took three doctors to devise the “novel” treatment approach (is that somewhat impressive or freakishly scary?) and 2), on the list of 101 things to do with a bicycle tire air pump, this should place no better than No. 118:

Pulaski County Democrat, Thursday, Sept. 19, 1907

Death From Peculiar Cause

The death of George Guild, the Medaryville liveryman, occurred Tuesday morning from a somewhat unusual cause. Last Thursday, just after sliding to the ground from a load of hay, he complained a little of straining something in his bowels. The pain grew more severe through that night, and his family summoned Dr. Linton Friday morning. A day later, he called Dr. Clayton of Monon in consultation, and Sunday evening, he called Dr. George Thompson of Winamac. At that time, the man was very low. He had been suffering intense pain, no action of the bowels had been obtained since the injury and he was nearly pulseless. The physicians agreed a telescoping of the bowel was the trouble, but the man was so low, an operation would mean sure death from the anesthetic. They adopted a somewhat novel treatment – a tube 2 feet long and air pressure from a bicycle tire pump – as the only resort that could give relief. It proved successful – they secured proper action of the bowels and, with it, ease for the patient. But he had sunk so low that exhaustion coupled with a heart weakness that had affected him for years resulted in his death. A post-mortem examination disclosed the exact accuracy of the diagnosis: The treatment referred to had straightened the tangled bowel, but its discoloration and other marks showed where it had been locked. Mr. Guild was 62.

I suppose there are more-undignified ways to go other than with a bicycle tire air pump up your derriere. Nothing leaps to mind, but I suppose …

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2 comments

  1. How far the medical field has come!
    Are you asking who Brownie was? It was a cousin but I don’t know if she was a Guild or Prevo. Rhonda has her china doll.

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    1. Yeah, I think that’s what everyone’s been trying to figure out ever since Grandma wrote this letter … how was she related? In her letter, Grandma wrote “buried in Austin, Minnesota and married Lyman Mott at the same time” on the last line of the front of the letter and finished the thought on the back with “I was”. If you’re reading it fast, it sounds like she married Lymon Mott at the same time she was buried in Austin, Minnesota. Or Brownie and Grandma married Lymon at the same time. It works better with the actual letter. Mom always thought she was the one Grandma wanted to give to Brownie, but the letter definitely says “Charlotte.” Maybe Grandma wanted to unload both of ’em!

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